Congresswoman Chellie Pingree spoke out in favor of potatoes this week, supporting a bipartisan amendment that would guarantee that beneficiaries of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program would be able to continue to use their benefits to buy fresh potatoes.
For more information on Pingree's efforts to help consumers access more healthy food, go to pingree.house.gov/localfood
"A moderate serving of fresh potatoes can be an affordable and nutritious addition to a balanced diet," Pingree said. "Families trying to provide healthy meals on a tight budget should be able to use their WIC benefits to buy potatoes."
Pingree joined with Republican Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho to fight for an amendment in the House Appropriations Committee that would put potatoes back on the list of approved vegetables for WIC beneficiaries.
"Fresh potatoes shouldn't be lumped into the same category as processed potato products," Pingree said. "But I think that's what regulators were doing and were not looking at the nutritional value of fresh potatoes."
The amendment, to the Fiscal Year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill passed the Committee and is expected to go the full House for a vote later this month.
White potatoes, high in potassium and vitamin C, are already approved for purchase with WIC vouchers at farmers markets in many states, including Maine, but the USDA had taken them off the list of approved purchases in grocery stores.